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Health Tips / Babies and High Temperatures

Diagnosis and Symptoms

Normal body temperature is 37oC but this can vary from 36oC-38oC. Children are much more likely to experience a high temperature than adults. A temperature of 38oC in a child would be considered mildly elevated.
If a child's temperature is at this level for more than one day or if it rises above 38oC medical advice should be sought. Contact your doctor immediately if your child has a temperature of 39 degrees or higher, or has a fit, or a purplish rash which does not blanch on pressure (this may indicate meningitis).
High temperature can often indicate that a child is unwell. It may be as a result of infections such as the common cold or influenza, ear nose and throat infections, chickenpox or following immunisation.
High temperature should be treated promptly as sustained high temperature in small children may lead to fits (febrile convulsions). The fits usually last for less than five minutes.

If your child experiences febrile convulsions:
· Try to protect the child s head but do not restrain them
· Place the child in the first aid recovery position
· Try to reduce your child s temperature
· Seek medical attention.

Preventative Measures 

To prevent high temperatures, ensure that your baby is in a well ventilated area. If prone to high temperatures monitor your child frequently and do not use excessive bed clothing. 

Non-Prescription Treatments 

If a child has a raised temperature immediate action may be required to prevent the possibility of febrile convulsions. Parents are advised to
· Reduce clothing and remove heavy bed linen.
· Increase ventilation, but be careful not to let the child get cold near an open window.
· Lower the central heating.
· Sponge down the body. (Tepid water should be used for no more than 5 minutes).
· Increase fluid intake.

Medicinal Treatments include Paracetamol and Ibuprofen products. Paracetamol is a very effective antipyretic (temperature reducing agent). Paracetamol is available in liquid (CALPOL) and sugar free liquid formulations (CALPOL SUGAR FREE, PANADOL INFANT, PARALINK). The dose of paracetamol is dependent on age. 

Stronger preparations, such as (CALPOL SIX PLUS, are available for children over 6 years. Paracetamol suppositories (PARALINK SUPPOSITORIES 180mg) are administered rectally and will act faster in reducing temperature. 

Paracetamol may be used in combination with an antihistamine, in products such as TEEDEX or DOZOL for teething pain, colds and flu for children over the age of 6. These products may cause drowsiness. Prolonged or routine use of paracetamol without medical supervision can be dangerous. If symptoms persist for more than 24 hours consult your doctor or pharmacist. 

Ibuprofen is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) which is effective in reducing temperature and relieving pain and inflammation. Ibuprofen is available without a prescription as NUROFEN FOR CHILDREN or FENOPINE.
Do not give your child more than one antipyretic preparation except on medical advice. 

Aspirin should not be given to children under the age of 16. 

Further Information on the medicines listed above including dosage is available at

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Last update: 16/05/2013 12:38 • Previous update: 30/11/-0001 00:00